Starlink Vs Centurylink: Can You Rely on Cable Internet Over Satellite Internet?

A Starlink vs. Centurylink comparison might sound farfetched, but it’s fair. While Centurylink offers fast internet in areas with the infrastructure for it, Starlink satellite caters to a population struggling to get reliable internet.  The …

Fast internet data transmission

A Starlink vs. Centurylink comparison might sound farfetched, but it’s fair.

While Centurylink offers fast internet in areas with the infrastructure for it, Starlink satellite caters to a population struggling to get reliable internet. 

The main difference between Starlink vs. Centurylink is how they work.

Centurylink has been providing DSL and fiberoptic internet for years.

However, Starlink is covering new ground fast with its low-latency satellite internet. 

Is Starlink a reliable alternative to Centurylink? Will it catch up to Centurylink’s speeds and affordability?

You’re in the right place to find out. 

Table of Contents

Fast internet connection in a city

Fast internet connection in a city

Centurylink is among the biggest internet suppliers in the US, covering about 35 states.

The service provider has a long history in communications, specializing in voice, data, TV, and fiber internet services for residential and business users. 

They have been through changes, only changing their name to Centurylink after a merger with another company.

This long history is one of the reasons some users prefer Centurylink.

The company has built its brand to be a reliable, fast DSL and fiber internet provider. 

Secondly, they offer the internet speeds they advertise. 

An FCC report showed that almost half of Centurylink’s internet subscriber base got 95% of the speeds the ISP promised.

Only 25% received less than 80% of the advertised speed. 

Finally, Centurylink is available in many busy areas. Plus, users can choose a service that fits their needs. The provider has plans for basic users, average users, and heavy users such as families, streamers, and online gamers. 

Satellite connections in space

Satellite connections in space

Starlink is not a new satellite internet service provider. However, it has predecessors that offer the same service. 

Still, Starlink has a unique angle. 

It is the ideal service if you’re out in the boonies struggling to get enough connection to send basic emails without downtime. 

It uses satellites closer to the earth to guarantee users fast internet.

Granted that it’s still a company in its early stages, it is showing huge potential. 

The speeds are decent, the costs are fair, and the promise of up to 30,000 satellites is enticing. 

So let’s see what you get with each. 

Mode of delivery

Starlink uses satellites on low Earth 

Starlink uses satellites on low Earth 

Starlink utilizes thousands of satellites operating in low-earth orbit.

Unlike other legacy satellite internet providers, its satellites’ proximity to Earth makes it a favorable option as a low-latency ISP. 

On the contrary, Centurylink heavily relies on DSL and fiber optic cable. Most of its users get the DSL package.

The provider has other options, such as Wi-Fi, too. 

Both methods play a big part in speed and reliability. 


On paper, Starlink promises about 300 Mbps download speed.

However, Starlink Residential users report speeds between 50 and 100 Mbps.

Starlink’s speeds might be affected by satellite mounting, user location, and equipment. 

On the other end, Centurylink has speeds between 100 Mbps to 960 Mbps. Most users get unlimited data with the 100 Mbps download speed package.

The 960 Mbps speeds might be the preserve of the few that can access Centurylink Business. 

Starlink will give you upload speeds of between 14 and 20 Mbps. You’ll experience about 6 Mbps upload speed with Centurylink. 


You may appreciate low latency once you experience excessive lag as you work on something that needs zero lag.

Starlink has a 20-40 ms latency. On the other hand, Centurylink’s latency depends on whether you’re using DSL or fiber.

Most users experience about -1ms, according to Speedcheck. 


Availability may be the reason you prefer Centurylink or Starlink. 

Starlink aims for global coverage.

Since it’s based on a premise to provide reliable internet to people in remote areas, it might be the perfect solution for people outside busy business hubs or major cities. 

Conversely, Centurylink has a national presence. Sure, it’s only available in some towns in 35 states.

Still, these towns have the proper infrastructure to support cable internet and Wi-Fi. 

Contracts and Pay Plans

One of Centurylink’s main advantages is that they’ve taken the complication out of payment. They have three payment plans. 

The Simply Unlimited plan, ideal for light users, costs $50 monthly with speeds up to 100 Mbps.

You’d have to pay only $30 monthly for the Fiber 200 Mbps plan. The Fiber Gigabit plan is selectively available.

However, the few that get it pay $70 monthly to get up to 940 Mbps. 

On the other hand, Starlink charges between $90 and $120 monthly for the Starlink Residential plan.

Subscribers on the Starlink Business plan pay between $250 and $1500.

Other Starlink plans include Roam($150.00–$200.00) and Mobility($250.00–$5,000.00)

Despite the different price points, subscribers of each service will appreciate the No contract similarity.

They only pay the monthly or annual price without being locked into a contract. 

Furthermore, they can cancel their subscriptions. 

Equipment fees

While Starlink equipment comes at a one-time cost of $599, you can buy out a Centurylink internet kit for $200.

Alternatively, you can get it for  $15 monthly using the service. 

Customer Support

For a legacy company, Centurylink has multiple ways to reach customer support.

They have separate phone numbers for technical support and general queries.

Also, you can send an email to raise an issue. 

Comparatively, Starlink has a lengthy process. You have to raise a ticket in the app.

It might take a while to get a response. The site says you can expect to get feedback within 72 hours. 

Here’s a quick Starlink Vs. Centurylink comparison table.

FeaturesCenturylink InternetStarlink Satellite Internet
Speed100-960 Mbps DL, 6Mbps UL100-300 Mbps DL, 14-20 Mbps UL
Latency-1ms20-40 ms
Mode of deliveryDSL, fiberopticSatellite
Availability35 states in the USGlobal
Cost$50-$70 monthly$90-$120,  up to $5000 for special plans
ContractsNo contractNo contract
Equipment$200 one-time, $15 monthly$599
Customer supportReliable all-round serviceTicket support system with 72-hour response

On these two options, reliability is a matter of location and activity.

Starlink is the most reliable option if you are looking for a stable internet provider in rural areas. However, you’d have to battle it out with harsh weather.

See, Starlink dishes get disrupted by rain and snow. Your signal may not be 100% great all the time.

However, if you live in a clear area with an unobstructed sky view, we’d recommend Starlink with the 2nd Generation satellite dish. 

Additionally, you can pause the service if it doesn’t suit you. 

Centurylink is perfect for a busy city. It provides fast download speeds, low latency, and a flexible payment plan.

Also, you can add other Centurylink services, such as phone and TV, and make it a bundle from the same company. 

Centurylink’s mode of delivery is preferable if you need the service for zero-lag activity, such as 4K streaming, online gaming, and videoconferencing. 


By most comparisons, it seems logical to pick Centurylink over Starlink.

However, Starlink is aggressively pushing to improve its space and ground presence.

This comparison should guide you to the ideal service for your needs.